I’ve seen a lot of comedians in my time, but I haven’t spent that many evenings where you emerge from the theatre feeling very happy yet exhausted with aching stomach muscles from laughing so much.
Dave Allen was one; totally inimitable and wonderful. Barry Humphries was another and then there was the late great Frank Carson.
I only saw Frank once on stage at Cheltenham Town Hall. He was just hilarious and lovely in the old-fashioned comic tradition with impeccable timing. He exuded a joy which infected the entire audience.
I have to repeat one story which brought the house down but forgive me if it sounds clumsy – Frank had a much better delivery.
He described how he’d done eleven Royal Variety performances. The star performers are always lined up ready and waiting to meet the Queen, who has a little word and shakes a gloved hand with each one in turn…
Frank Carson was waiting in line next to boxer Frank Bruno, who at the time was full of wind because of his high-fibre training diet.
Just as Her Majesty was approaching, Frank Bruno let one slip.
Frank Carson described the scene.
“Next to me was Vicky Michelle from ‘Allo ‘Allo and as the Queen spoke to her, I could hear Frank breaking wind on my other side.
“As the Queen came to me and shook hands, Frank let another one loose.
“The Queen said ‘Was that you?’ and I replied ‘No. I thought it was you!’
“She just looked at me hard and moved on. True story!”
Great story too. A lovely bloke. Rest in peace, Frank.